Live Oak —
Two condemned buildings in downtown Live Oak that were damaged when Tropical Storm Debby paid a visit are slated to be razed soon, according to the city of Live Oak and the contractor hired to do the job.
Ron O’Steen of O’Steen Brothers Inc. out of Gainesville said that Monday, Feb. 18 is the tentative date that his company will be razing the buildings. The two buildings are on Howard Street and the corner of Pine Avenue. They back Warren Street, next to the Suwannee County Courthouse. The buildings have sat condemned since TS Debby in late June when a 160-foot sinkhole formed partially underneath them.
The decision to demo the buildings came after a magistrate for the city of Live Oak’s Code Enforcement Board determined they must come down since they are unsafe to the public. A hearing was held on Jan. 24 to determine if the owners of the buildings, John Chambliss and John Robinson, were in violation of Land Development Regulations. It was determined at that hearing that a ruling by Code Board Magistrate and local attorney Lauren Howle would be reserved until a final ruling.
That ruling states that by 10 days from the date of the order (Jan. 30) a demolition permit would be required and the demolition would have to take place within 40 days. Failing either of those commands would have resulted in a $250 a day fine until compliance was met.
Code Officer Lynn Touchton said that O’Steen Brothers Inc. will be utilizing a wet demolition, where they will soak the building and keep water on it until the buildings are down to avoid a lot of dust.
Rob O’Steen said they don’t have a set time of demo yet, but stated they wanted to start early, and on a Monday to have the week to finish.
The future of the lots the buildings sit on will be determined by the owners.